This week I have had to face one of my biggest fears: pricking my finger with a lancet.
For some, this may seem like such a trivial action. But for me, it is something that has caused me to break down into uncontrollable sobs at the doctor’s office.
I’m not sure when I developed this fear… Maybe it was a bad experience at the paediatrician when I was a child, or watching my diabetic grandmother prick her finger regularly. But all that I know is that my fear is real and tangible.
But this week, I’ve had to come face to face with this fear. After a diagnosis with gestational diabetes and my doctor instructing me to test my blood sugar 4 times a day, my immediate reaction was denial. I flat out told my doctor that I refused to prick my finger once, let alone 4 times a day.
When I finally considered that testing my blood sugar regularly was in the best interest of my baby, I started to gain courage. After all, the health of my child is more important than any fear I could ever have in life.
I went out and bought a OneTouch Ultra meter and the OneTouch Ultra lancets. On first morning I tested my blood sugar, I woke my husband up to help me. We set up the lancet and meter, and it took me about 20 minutes of crying and freaking out before I calmed myself down enough for my husband to prick my finger. It hurt, but I had survived.
That first day was rough. I had to test my blood a total of 3 more times that day, and by the end of the day my fingers felt so sore. I was fortunate that my husband was able to do prick my finger for the first and last samples of the day, and even more lucky that I work at a school where the school nurse could test my blood sugar for the second and third times.
But I wasn’t finished building my courage. The next morning was the weekend, and I didn’t want to wake up my husband early to test my finger. I wanted to know that I was capable of testing my blood sugar by myself. I felt scared, and my stomach clenched. I took a few deep breaths, and released the lancet into my finger. It hurt a lot, but I felt so proud that I had done it all by myself.
I’m slowly learning how to make it less painful when I test my blood sugar. And I’m happy to report that my blood sugar levels are well below the maximum levels (aka I’m eating super healthy, and I don’t have too much sugar in my blood!).
After 5 days of testing my blood, I’m realizing that I can overcome even the worst of my fears, especially when I’m doing it to keep my little baby safe and healthy. I’m still not a fan of testing my blood sugars, but I’m braver than I was before.
Sometimes the worst part about fear is the unknown, or the anticipation of something, and not the actual thing itself. I was more afraid of the moments leading up to the actual lancet plunge and the pain of the needle entering my skin. But the pain is so fleeting, and it happens so quickly.
I think Eleanor Roosevelt said it best when she spoke about overcoming fears. We ought to do one thing each day that scares us. Once we become familiar with our fears, the fears start to fade. I just happen to face my fear four times a day.
Have you had to overcome any fears recently? What is your biggest fear, and why?
Life is short, share in the adventure!